Big tobacco takes kids, family down deadly path

Friday, August 10, 2018

Editor,

As an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer, I have dedicated much of my free time to educating the public on the constant harm that tobacco is causing in our community, our families and our small businesses. It affects rising health care costs and the health consequences of tobacco-related disease are astronomical.

Big Tobacco is spending tens of millions of dollars in Montana to take our kids and families down a deadly path. It’s time to ask big tobacco corporations and smokers to pay their fair share to fight cancer and other tobacco relateddiseases.

Treating tobacco-related diseases among our Medicaid recipients costs over 81-million dollars a year, which increases Medicaid costs. And today, Montana taxpayers help pay whether they smoke or not. With this initiative, if you don’t use tobacco, you won’t pay. This initiative will prevent nearly 100,000 Montanans from losing their health coverage through Medicaid and help our rural hospitals and clinics to remain open for all Montanans. I-185 will dedicate a percentage of the increased tobacco tax for Montana’s Medicaid program, veterans’ services, smoking prevention and cessation programs as well as long-term care services for seniors and people with disabilities.

Montanans have a great opportunity to save lives. I hope all will join me in supporting I-185.

Kim Smarsh

Miles City

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